Heavy Traffic and New Computer System Disrupted Web Site, Bank of America Says
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ October 5, 2011
After nearly a week of interruptions and slowdowns that made its Web site inaccessible at times, Bank of America said Wednesday the problems stemmed from a combination of heavy traffic along with the rollout of a new computer system.
With nearly 30 million online banking customers and the nation's busiest bank Web site, the failures spurred consumer anger, with account holders in some cases unable to pay bills electronically or check their balances.
"Our priority is delivering the speed and functionality our customers expect," said David Owen, senior vice president and head of online and mobile banking for Bank of America. "We take this very seriously, and this has been very disappointing in terms of not meeting those expectations this week."
While the site seemed to be functioning normally by Wednesday evening, Mr. Owen was not declaring victory. "We're taking this day by day," he said.
The problems first cropped up on Friday, a day after the bank, the nation's largest, announced it would impose a new $5 a month charge for some debit cardholders. But Mr. Owen insisted the problems were not caused by hackers unhappy with the new fee or by efforts to flood the site with traffic as a protest, a strategy called a denial-of-service attack.